Oct 2, 2007
SO FAR AWAY FROM GOD
In Mexico they have a saying: “Poor Mexico. So far away from God and so close to the United States.”
Recently their was a conference in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico about NAFTA and issues of trade between Canada, Mexico and the USA.
The meeting was attended by Stephen Harper, the Prime minister of Canada, Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, and low level officials of the United States.
In Mexico thousands of people are murdered every year by gunshot. To Americans and Canadians this doesn’t seem terribly frightening or out of the ordinary.
Considering that firearms arms are illegal in Mexico, except for a few permits issued for hunting rifles, the death by handguns and assault rifles is scary.
At the conference President Calderon complained that the United States wasn’t doing enough to stop the flow of arms into Mexico.
The Americans complained about the constant flow drugs and people into the United States.
President Calderon countered that if there wasn’t a huge demand for drugs in the United States, there wouldn’t be anyone supplying the drugs.
The situation is more complicated than the statements made by Calderon and the officials from the United States.
Historically Mexico has had little if any problem with its population using illegal drugs. However, with the huge demand for drugs in Mexico and the various cartels supplying those drugs, the number of people using illicit drugs has risen dramatically.
Manny of the gun related murders in Mexico are directly related to the drug cartels fighting for turf.
The United States has a trade surplus with Mexico that has escalated dramatically since the advent of the passage of NAFTA in 1993.
After the passage of NAFTA it is conservatively estimated that over 12 million formerly self sustaining small Mexican farmers have been forced off their land because the they can’t compete with subsidized corporate agriculture imports from the US.
Many of these displaced farmers have illegally migrated to the USA.
It is only after the passage of NAFTA that the numbers of undocumented workers entering the United States of America have gotten out of hand.
That number would have been much worse if all the displaced farmers in Mexico had left the country.
Many of them with no desire to leave their country of birth sought economic relief by turning to raising the lucrative cash crops of Marijuana and opium poppies.
A very conservative estimate of the value of illicit drug entering the US through Mexico is $74 billion a year.
If Mexico were to totally eliminate the illicit drug trade, the people producing these crops and those involved in the distribution of those crops, would be forced to do something to survive.
The logical assumption is that these people would vote with their feet by illegally migrating to the USA, making the current immigration problem seem minuscule.
The only parties that have benefited from the passage of NAFTA are corporate interests and corrupt high government officials in Mexico (the President of Mexico at the time of the passage of NAFTA was Carlos Salina de Gortari, a Harvard trained PhD. Economist and arguably the most corrupt Mexican President ever. This is saying a lot in a country where their presidents are known for being crooks. One can only assume that Salinas was a more proficient crook because of the Harvard education he received).
The workers in Canada and the United States have seen their wages cut and their standard of living drop.
The blight of the poor and rapidly shrinking middle class in Mexico is obvious.